Omnipress has just released our 2023 Conference Industry Report, featuring data collected from a survey of over 200 event professionals and executives on the current and future state of conferences and event content.
In this 9th annual report, we explore challenges and opportunities facing organizations at a time when attendee preferences have diversified, the workplace has changed, and a new generation of attendees starts to enter the workforce.
Don’t have time to read through the full report? Here’s a quick summary of our top takeaways from this year’s data:
1. “It depends” is the new storyline for events
For the first six years we published this report, we could easily thread the data together into a single storyline for the events industry. Nearly all conferences were in-person. And while there may have been some differences in priorities and strategy depending upon a respondent’s industry or organization size, those variations were minimal.
When trying to summarize this year’s survey, our answer to just about any question is, “It depends.” In-person is no longer the default format for conferences. Hybrid and virtual events will remain viable options moving forward. How we choose to deliver our events depends upon the industries we serve and our own organizational resources. And each format presents its own set of challenges and opportunities.
2. When (or whether) conference attendance and revenue will fully recover yet to be determined, but meeting planners are optimistic
A year ago, our 2022 survey respondents were hopeful that events were going to make a full recovery that year. And while conferences did see some modest gains compared to the previous year, things did not bounce back as hoped. New virus variants kept people from attending in-person. And organizations still recovering from the pandemic and short-staffed from the “Great Resignation” didn’t have the resources to send to events – as attendees or as sponsors/exhibitors.
Heading into 2023, meeting planners are feeling optimistic as they plan to offer their conferences in the same format as last year.
Compared to last year (or, the last time you held this event), how well did your 2022 conference perform in each of the following areas:
3. Young professionals are important to the future success of events, but there’s still work to do to attract and retain them
Generation Z is entering the workforce in large numbers over the next several years. Which makes them a prime target for meeting professionals who are looking to “future-proof” their events and grow attendance. 93% of our respondents recognize this, but only 26% feel they have been extremely effective in their efforts.
4. Conference content is playing a bigger role outside of the event
Education and peer connections are the two biggest reasons we choose to attend a conference. The quality of educational sessions has always been crucial to the success of the event. And today, more organizations are recognizing this same content can help facilitate their post-pandemic recovery. Increasingly, this content is being used to increase attendance, engage new audiences, and deliver more educational opportunities outside the event.
Are you currently or do you have plans to re-use the content from your conference for any purpose outside the actual event? Download the Omnipress 2023 Conference Industry Report to see all the data, insights, and trends we’re watching as we move through the next year.